Oct 23, 2011

Malana Diaries. Part I : The Road to Malana.

WARNING: Pictures Galore.

For the past ten years, the Malana project has been well known among the Delhi Mizo Youth Fellowship. The Delhi Mizo Youth have been supporting a missionary for Malana, a little hamlet hidden high up in the Himachal mountains, isolated and unreached by the world for many many years. The Malana culture is  supposedly a culture with the oldest Parliament in the world which enjoys an independent democracy and doesn't abide by the Indian Constitution.

So, when the Youth Fellowship decided to have a Medical Camp again after two years, I jumped at the opportunity for a three day trip to Malana. Even though I couldn't help in the medical department, I could also be a part of the Sanitation team or the Prayer team who were also needed. I was one of the first to pay the fee and sign up for the trip. I was excited, all ready and fully geared for the trip. Who wouldn't be excited to visit a place you've heard so much about?

With my seatmate Zama who came equipped with absolutely everything needed and more!! We partnered even on the trip back home. 

 The final group of 30 members left Delhi on an overnight bus to Manali. After a night of bobbing up and down and sleeping through the twist and turns of the mountain road, we woke up to a crisp morning air, clear humming creeks and apple orchards strewn on both sides of the road. Beautiful Manali with the its alpine  forests reminded me of the Twilight novels. I knew I wasn't the only one when someone squeaked from the backseat "SpiderMonkey". We made a stop at Dar-Ul-Fazl (meaning House of Grace) Childrens' Home at Shuru where we were fed a heavy mid-morning meal and given a place to bath and rest before we left for Malana in the afternoon.
Pi Mawitei welcoming the team before our morning meal at DUF Shuru, Manali.

A bible verse on a wall in a room at DUF Home
I came across this at DUF and feasted my eyes on it because I know I'll hardly come across it again.

The girls' Dormitory at Dar-ul-Fazl Childrens' Home. 

Even the bathroom has this view! Sigh!!
The ride from Manali up to the point from where the hike should begin was a beautiful ride. Everytime I stared out of window to the majestic mountains and the humming creeks below, I doubt the line 'Kan Zotlang ram nuam hi chhawrpial run i iang e'. No disrespect intended!

So after three hours in the maxi cab and a dozen stories shared, Malana came to sight. If Manali reminded me of the Twilight novels, Malana definitely sprung up 'The Lord of the Rings' in my head. A picturesque hamlet where the only way to the village is through a hiking trail. We descended a thousand metres for around half a kilometre before we reached a small creek. After crossing the creek, we again ascended for a few kilometres before we reached the village.
The trail to Malana village: a view from the opposite side.

The creek we had to cross to get to Malana.

I was born in the hills, energetic all my life and thought I was a mountain goat untill I hiked up the Malana trail. I admit with shame, I almost died. My heart was beating in my throat, I was bathing in sweat, throat parched and gasping for breath after every few metres. Dr. Manuni, who went for a medical camp to Malana two years back, described the ascend "Calorie ka khuainuai". I couldn't have described it better myself. I salute her for the perfect and apt description. And the higher I climbed, my gasps became heavier. Little did I know that I had altitude sickness. Who would have thought that the girl from the hills could get mountain sick?

And to make matters worse, I had an upset stomach from the improper meals and improper sleep during the night in the bus. I will never ever forget my Malana climb and the thing my body compelled me to do mid-climb. I will forever be grateful to some people especially Mami and Ricky for the wait while I disappeared from the trail with a roll of TP and a tube of hand sanitizer and also to Mohan Bhaiyya for carrying my rucksack for the rest of the climb.

I mentally booed Miley Cyrus' lyrics 'Ain't about what's waiting on the other side, It's the climb'. For me it's all about what's waiting in the end. If it hadn't been for Malana, I would given up halfway during the climb! But because of what's waiting in the end, I pushed myself and even though I almost threw up from exhaustion, I didn't cry like someone did! :) 

The better part of the trail to Malana
The first two groups reached Malana by nightfall but the third team, a few boys including the medical team from Manali Mission Hospital were late while waiting for medical and food supplies. I can't imagine their struggle while climbing the steep narrow dirt track in the pitch dark moonless night. When they reached the campsite at around 11 pm  they were drenched with sweat even though they removed their sweaters and jackets against the cold Himalaya winds. Among them, Hnehzova later asked for a pain killer, Abiaka claimed that his usually high BP was normal because of the climb and LH-a later confessed that he never knew a parcel of bread could be as heavy as it was during the climb that night!

Camp food: I haven't had such a good appetite in a long long time! It must be the mountain air!
For the first time in my life, I slept in a tent and in a sleeping bag. I was a bit worried and scared about using a sleeping bag. There was something not quite right about the thought of arms all tucked in with only the head popping out. Defenseless was the word I was looking for!

But none of that mattered after the unimaginable climb, the upset stomach and the cold cold mountain air. I was more than happy to snuggle inside the bag and before long, I fell asleep while listening to people calling each other from the tents nearby and the boys laughing while arranging themselves in the next tent.


Anonymous said...

One of your best posts. I enjoyed it very much. Dramatic, funny, with great photos superbly shot. Well done!

Anonymous said...

Great job thiannu!!! I will forever remember "Zuali englo kawn" hahahaha!

Senmami said...

Thanx E.

Thanx Thiannu... Next time we go there, we'll make sure we put a flag there! :D

Anonymous said...

TP..kzp to us..!!!!very ngaihnom...

Mi said...

zual, ui a mawi lutukkk, bathroom view khi i dieee tops..chuan creek poh khi...malana khawlai leh bus ride tih loh kha chu ka chak vekkk

Senmami said...

A kalkawng a ngan ani!! hahthlak ve namen. Mahse a hmun thlen chuan engmah hah kan hre tawh lo.. Malan khawlai chu trawp namen tak hi ni ringawt!

Tu emaw ek rap phei chu pa leh pa lo sawi tawh lo... va luak bawrh bawrh! hehehe

dorje said...

thats really awesome and beautiful,
duf manali (shuru)

dorje said...

beautiful himachal

Thlana Bazik said...

Kan kal ve dawn e.........in sulhnu ka'n chhui ange.....kal hmaa hetiang chhiar tur a awm hi a manhla hle mai.